In Sports News this Monday: the Czech women’s tennis team come close to reaching their first Fed Cup final in over two decades before suffering a total collapse against the US in the doubles; the Czech Republic make a solid start at the world ice hockey championships, beating Denmark 5:0; football goalkeeper Petr Čech makes 13th in a rich list of Premiership players under 30; and Jakub Smrž reaches the podium in the Superbike World Championship for the first time in his career.
The Czech women’s tennis team have missed out on a place in their first Fed Cup final since 1988, after a dramatic collapse against the United States in Brno at the weekend. The Czechs had been fancied to overcome an American team without the Williams sisters, but failed to make their perceived superiority pay in the first four, singles rubbers. Things were tied at 2:2 going into the concluding doubles, which began excellently for the Czechs; Iveta Benešová and Květa Peschke beat Liezel Huber and Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-2 in the first set and appeared to be heading for a comfortable victory when they went 5-2 ahead in the second. It was then, however, that everything fell apart. The Czechs blew a match point and allowed the Americans to win set two in a tie-break, before collapsing completely in a third set in which they took only one game. The Czech Republic’s coach Petr Pála looked shell-shocked when he spoke after the match.
“It’s incredible. The US coach Mary Joe Fernandez herself told the press herself that she couldn’t believe what had happened. Our girls were the best team for the first two thirds of the match – they were so close, so close…For me it’s unbelievable that we didn’t succeed in winning.”
The Czech Republic made a solid start at the world ice hockey championships in Switzerland, when they dispatched Denmark 5:0 without having to break too much of a sweat. Encouraging signs in that victory included a good understanding between Jaromír Jágr and Aleš Hemský, and a shutout from 22-year-old goaltender Jakub Štěpánek, who was making his world championships debut. But while Czech fans had reason to cheer, coach Vladimír Růžička expressed some dissatisfaction with his charges’ performance on Saturday. There are signs he may make changes for the Czechs’ next game against Norway on Monday evening (that match takes place after the recording of our programme).
The Czech football goalkeeper Petr Čech kept a second clean sheet in a row for Chelsea on Saturday, when he saved a penalty in their 1:0 win over West Ham. Čech, who has come in for a lot of criticism lately, also figured highly in a new football rich list compiled by the Sunday Times. The Plzeň born star ranked joint 13th among Premier League players under 30, with an estimated fortune of 11 million pounds. The highest paid Czech sportsman of all time will have his eyes on one of soccer’s biggest prizes on Tuesday, when Čech’s Chelsea travel to Barcelona for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final tie.
The Czech Republic’s Jakub Smrž reached the podium in the Superbike
World Championship for the first time in his career on Sunday, when he
finished third in the second round at Assen in the Netherlands. The
26-year-old from České Budějovice is 10th overall in the Superbike World
Championship after four rounds.
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